It is with an incredibly heavy heart that I tell you that I lost a good friend today. Killed doing exactly what she loved – helping others and raising awareness about affordable housing through Bike and Build – Anne was only 22 years old, fresh out of college, full of excitement, and love, and purpose.
But now she’s gone.
I’ve felt a lot of things in the past few hours. I’ve felt shock, and disbelief, and pain, and sympathy, and regret. I was shocked and in disbelief when, ten minutes before class started, I was innocently scrolling through my Facebook feed and found out the news. I was in pain – the worst pain you could ever imagine – and still am, when I realized that she had been taken from my life and everyone else’s so suddenly. I felt sympathy for everyone else she knew, all of the other lives she touched, for her boyfriend, for her family. I regret not keeping in touch better after she transferred schools in our sophomore year. I regret not telling her how much her friendship meant to me, not realizing how much it meant until now.
I’ve never felt this empty, or numb, or hurt in my entire life. I don’t think my body or my mind knows how to process it. I know that she’s dead. I know that she’s gone and she’s not coming back. I know how it happened, and what she was doing.
But I still can’t accept it. I won’t.
Thinking about her today, I’ve realized a lot about what I loved about Anne and what she taught me in the time that I knew her. She was so passionate about helping others, had such a big heart, and was so courageous. She left shortly after graduation on her adventure with Bike and Build – totally unafraid, totally motivated by her purpose. Fearless.
If anything, she’s taught me that life’s too short – her death just reinforced that. Life’s too short to procrastinate, to not be passionate about anything, to be afraid. Life’s too short to not acknowledge the friends you haven’t spoken to in a while, to meet up with them every now and then, to tell them you love them, if you still do. It can be taken away so fast, and you might not get the chance again.
So I vow, in honor of Anne, to stop being afraid. I vow to get out of my own way, to challenge myself, and to give my whole heart to my passions and my friends and family.
Because life’s too short.
Rest easy, sweet girl.